Juan Cole has repeatedly proven himself to be one of the most intellignet and informed commentators on the war in Iraq. So it comes as no surprise today that he has an excellent post up that refutes Iyad Allawi’s ridiculous “15 of 18” assertion:
Allawi minimized the violence, saying that it was confined to 3 of Iraq’s 18 provinces. This assertion is simply untrue, and is anyway misleading because Baghdad is one of the three Allawi had in mind! Could an election that excluded the capital, with at least 5 million inhabitants, be considered valid?
In the map below I made the present security-challenged provinces red, and those that saw recent heavy fighting purple. I ask you if this looks like the problems are in “3 of 18 provinces,” or whether it looks to you like elections held only in the white areas (as Donald Rumsfeld seems to envision) would produce a legitimate government: